‘Hope is on the horizon’: Utah legislator claims COVID-19 vaccine works after volunteering in a clinical trial

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – One Utah legislator already knows what it’s like to receive a COVID-19 inoculation. Rep. Steve Eliason (R – Sandy) volunteered to participate in a clinical trial of the Moderna vaccine and on Wednesday, told ABC4 News about his experience.

Like many of us, Rep. Eliason knows people who have been affected by COVID-19.

“I lost a distant relative but one I’d seen a few months earlier,” he explained. “I lost a 22-year-old neighbor who was a dear friend, a special friend of our family. I’ve had a number of family members who have been infected and I currently have a good friend who is in an ICU unit right now dealing with COVID-19.”

So when he heard about a trial for a possible vaccine, he signed up,  not as a legislator or a financial manager at a hospital, but as Steve, a regular volunteer.

“I just thought ‘Well might as well be that change and improvement I want to see in the world'”, he said.

Eliason received two injections 28 days apart and while he wasn’t told if he was getting the actual vaccine or a placebo, his body’s response told him it was the real deal.

“Had a little bit of a fever and you know, chills and kind of a pain in my arm where I had gotten the injection,” Rep. Eliason said.  “But those side effects were short-lived, 12 hours, easily managed with you know, Tylenol or ibuprofen. Compared to contracting Covid, the side effects were really nothing.”

A follow-up blood test revealed that Eliason had seven times the antibodies of someone who had recovered from the virus.

“Having not had COVID, it was a pretty easy conclusion to draw that I had received the actual vaccine and that it worked, did what it is supposed to do,” he said. “There’s a lot of people out there who are depressed and discouraged with the way things are going and my message to them is that hope is on the horizon…This isn’t the end but it is the beginning of the end.” 

Coincidentally, Rep. Eliason told ABC4 News he got his blood test results back on the same day that Moderna announced their vaccine had been proven 95 percent effective.

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